I think this is a fascinating blog topic because someone's weight loss can inspire so many others. I wish I had this blog a few years ago. Between August 2001 and April 2002 I lost 97 lbs. Then I got married and put on about 110.
I wish I were kidding.
About the weight gain, I mean.
My weight loss experience was a story unto itself. It came at a time when God was changing me in rapid ways. He was teaching me discipline, and my weight loss was more of a 10-month sermon than anything. There was one fundamental rule I learned about discipline -- how to acquire it:
This lesson has come in handy in practically every area of my life. In years past I would "porpoise," going from committed to something to falling out to committed to burning out in anything that mattered ... school, relationships, work. And diets.
So I started this diet in Aug. 2001 under the inspiration of this principle. Instead of jumping into another fad diet, I decided I would start working out. I used to be something of an athlete, so working up a sweat was never the problem. The problem was getting off the sofa and doing something about it.
I knew my limitations and my tendency to be flaky, so I gave my self one simple rule: Get to the gym. There was no other rule. If I got to the gym, looked inside the doors, and went home, it was still more exercise than I would have received otherwise.
I did that once or twice, but my conscience eventually got the better of me and I decided to walk on the treadmill for 10 minutes. I did this three times a week for six weeks.
This is where I think God uses our human nature for our best interest.
I lost 18 lbs. in six weeks doing the most minimal exercise. I did not change my diet in any meaningful way, other than becoming conscience of portions. I still ate fast food, etc. Just the fact that I put my body in motion melted away some of the fat on my body.
Then I got excited and decided to implement a diet, but I absolutely abhor diet systems. As is my nature, I conjured up my own. The first thing that had to go was Coke, of which I could easily consume a 12-pack a day. But I was also aware of my limitations, so I adopted water -- not diet drinks -- as my supplement and created rules of when I could not drink Coke:
I could still have a Coke at a restaurant, I just couldn't take one for the road. I could still have a Coke at a friend's party or church function, I just had to leave it there whether I was finished or not.
I lost 14 lbs. the next four weeks, and my weight loss enthusiasm was overflowing. I created my own low-carb diet -- I grilled seven or eight chicken breasts each Sunday night and at them for lunch. I had protein bars and a piece of fruit for breakfast, and another protein bar and piece of fruit for an afternoon snack. I was so full by the end of the day, I stopped eating dinner ... once my Coke intake was so limited, my caffiene-fuled late nights were over and I was usually in bed by 10 p.m.
I averaged about 10 lbs. lost each month, and eliminated eight inches on my waste. I went through two belts because there weren't enough holes in them. My XXXL t-shirts looked like dresses on me by February.
Where I erred is when I got caught up in my own weight loss and forget about the still small voice in my head that led me into this to begin with. Instead of keeping it simple, I ended up going to the gym six times a day, 90 minutes at a time, pulling "total body workouts" in addition to my floor exercises and treadmill routines. By the time I met my wife-to-be, I had burned out on the gym and stopped going. Eating out became a regular thing, and I began drinking Coke like an old habit.
The rule of gaining discipline still rings true to me, though. Now that I'm 324, Rick's new blog has got me thinking about that lesson and how everything else in my life -- financial discipline, spiritual discipline -- has become unraveled since I wrestled my weight loss plan from God and found no strength to complete it. Not that God needs a nanosecond of my effort to change me, but I do believe He desires our obedience more than he desires to give us forgiveness.
I'm not a very obedient person these days. I suppose to outward appearances, I'm not the worst Christian, but I know in my heart there are things I can do to better honor God with my life. Like that song, I want my life to be a song to honor God.
God does not need an army of skinny Christians. That's not my point. But for me, I can see elements of a disobedient heart in my diet. It's a small picture of a big problem.
So I think I'm going to join Rick in the weight loss plan. I need some more time to think about what's reasonable with my new schedule, but expect to see something soon. My hope is it will be more about the goodness of God than about me fitting in 32-inch Levi's.